Opinion

Kashmir Under Siege

Almost the entire state of Kashmir is under curfew. Do you know what curfew means? It means each and everybody in the area is under house arrest. You cannot go out of your house even if it is an emergency. The CRPF and army can do anything. You don’t get food, no milk, no bread. People have nothing to eat. Children in many places are crying for food. I request you to imagine living in a situation like this, where you can be shot if you go out. You have no food. Your children are crying in hunger and you are so scared in your homes. Every minute you live in extreme fear.

The situation is going to get worse if the curfew continues like this. It’s the fourth day today that we are under curfew. Mobile services are banned in many districts and Internet is banned across Kashmir. The CRPF and paramilitary forces are making life hell for common people.

My relatives live in down town area called Noor Bagh. My cousin told me last night that they want to flee their home because they are scared to live there. The security forces have broken down window panes of their entire house as well as that of everybody living in that area. Security forces have also smashed cars on the roads, broken down shops. They do all this once the stone pelters run away and take their anger out on the innocent people living in that area. My cousins want to flee their homes but can’t even do that because the security forces won’t allow it. My cousin in Pampore also confirmed the same. Is this what security forces are here for? The central government says security forces are for our security. Is this the security they are doing by terrorizing people, by damaging properties of innocent people? By firing bullets, pellets, guns and teargas shells on men women and children, who are simply angry with government?

Imagine living a single day of your life in a situation like this? It’s easy to sit comfortably in your homes and criticize the youth of Kashmir but imagine what they have to go through in their daily life. Don’t judge us on what’s been shown on your tv channels.

One of the things that instigate anger among people here are all these brainless, insensitive people who come on news channel debates. They have no idea of the real situation. They just want to sensationalize the situation and want themselves to be called patriots. I am ashamed to see how two of our main political parties just play a blame game. They just want to hold the other party leadership responsible. They are not bothered about people whether it’s Kashmir or rest of India. All they want to see is how they will win their Parliament or MLA seat. For that even if they have to put the poison of communal thinking in the minds of our youth, even if they have to do polarization, even if they have to do riots, they will do it. Some of the MPs say that they want a Muslim-free India, some of them say they want to build the Ram Temple, some of them say Muslims should be castrated because their population is increasing. These senseless statements directly play with the minds of the people not only here but among the entire Muslim population in India. It is very dangerous for the democracy of India and danger for India itself.

There are thousands of people who are breaking the law and coming out on the streets to protest against the killing of so-called militant Burhan Wani . The stone pelting is going on and the security forces shooting at these protesters is also carrying on. 1500 people have been injured and among them 200 are very critical; more than 30 people have been killed between the ages of 5-28 years in just  four days. There was an incident where security forces stopped an ambulance, brought out the injured people and brutally beat them up. The security forces are beating not only young men but even women and children as well. They straight away open fire on these people. The security forces are shooting bullets, pellet guns, and tear gas shells on these civilians. My heart aches to know that many people lost eye sight; many people lost their arm, their leg, because of these serious injuries. I see death; I hear screams of these injured people. Sometimes it’s unbearable to see so much pain around and it feels suffocating.

Can you imagine how life is here? Imagine if something like that happens to you or your loved ones. How are you going to react? How will you feel about government?

In Delhi if a bus driver runs over a person, people get angry and burn the bus, start throwing stones out of anger. Does the police shoot them? We have seen how Jat agitators became violent in Delhi few months ago but neither the Delhi or Haryana police shot them. They didn’t open fire on them. I don’t need to say what all they did.  So why is that that when a Kashmiri youth throws a stone, security forces answer with a bullet? Why is this biased approach towards young Kashmiri people? Is it that the central govt wants to destroy the youth of Kashmir?

The situation is very tense and the people are very angry. It will be wrong to say that this anger came out just because of the killing of so-called militant Burhan Wani. It’s been in the hearts of the people for such a long time and there are multiple reasons for this volcano to erupt. The central government has been betraying and making false promises to the people of Kashmir since 1947, and to add onto these fake promises are the promises made in the assembly elections last year. They had suffered from floods and have been promised a huge flood relief package. People came out and participated in the electoral process in large numbers hoping that the central government will keep their promises this time, but yet again it didn’t. People again got to know that central government never wants to keep their promises to Kashmir.

I remember our ex-prime ministers Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee-ji promising in Parliament that we will give anything to the people of Jammu and Kashmir under the Indian constitution and Shri Narasimha Rao-ji had also said that sky will be the limit under the Indian constitution once elected government is formed. What happened then? The central government thought people participated in elections and everything is fine. Lakhs of people have been killed here and it seems like a joke to the central government. If we want to win the hearts of the people then we have to listen to their complaints very carefully and sincerely, otherwise we give chances to our enemies to provoke our own people against us.

It is sad to see that every national political leader and spokesperson of their parties blame Pakistan for everything. It’s so immature on the part of our Indian politicians. These politicians don’t want to look into the mistakes and betrayals that they have done with the people of Kashmir, which has led the state to where it is now. Let’s face the facts: blaming Pakistan for everything is not going to solve the problem. The central government has to understand that Kashmir is a political issue and needs to be immediately addressed politically. The central government wants to talk to Pakistan about Kashmir issue but not with the people of Kashmir. How is that going to help?

I want to humbly request all my fellow Indian citizens to understand the Kashmir issue, understand the pain and suffering of the people of Kashmir. If you say Kashmir is an integral part of India, then how can you not feel the pain when Kashmir is bleeding, when Kashmiri’s are being killed, tortured and injured? If we want to have peace in Kashmir, the central government has to listen to the people of Kashmir and first and foremost, have to stop this barbarism of security forces.

I am a poet, a model, an entrepreneur and most importantly a humanitarian. I am not angry and I do not support any kind of violence but that doesn’t mean there is no issue. I have been arrested and tortured by Delhi police for months but still I am not angry because I believe being angry is not going to solve the problem. I want peace not only in Kashmir but in the entire country. I want the youth all over India to indulge in productive and progressive things and careers but to do that we need to understand the problem, accept it, and then with open mind find a solution for it. I am not a politician; I am an ordinary Kashmiri, a humanitarian who wants to let ordinary people across India know how life is in Kashmir, how people suffer here. I want them to understand us and understand the Kashmir issue with an open mind.

 

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NEWSD and NEWSD does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

(Tariq Ahmad Dar is a model and entrepreneur from Kashmir. He tweets at @tariqdar)

Latest Update